There’s always been a general air of agency-bashing permeating the recruitment industry, well certainly there has for the decade of my involvement anyway. Usually it’s just a general sense, anecdotal evidence, Chinese whispers, a subtle roll of the eyes when a newly-met acquaintance learns what it is you do for a living.
The common complaints are ones you’re all no doubt familiar with. We don’t return phone calls. We don’t provide feedback. We just care about the fee, rather than the feelings, of jobseekers out there.
A lot of it is true, but nearly all of us immediately put ourselves mentally into an exalted and elevated circle of “higher-purpose” recruiters exonerated from all such barbs and criticisms. It’s true, we all think, of the cowboys in our industry that all give us a bad name. But not me. I’m different. They’re just giving the rest of us a bad name.
Well this week those dark mutterings that cloud our industry have apparently been confirmed by hard data, with Talent Propeller releasing a report that suggests:
“…more than half of New Zealand job seekers (51 per cent) have had a negative experience with a recruitment agency and would rather apply for a position directly.”
Most of these “reports” are conducted in such a way that the desired outcome, and subsequent “story” and press release, has already been planned and devised before the actual data is compiled. Certainly in this case, a business that offers companies a “smarter and more cost-effective” solution to traditional recruitment agencies has, from a very small sample size of 250 respondents, managed to generate a story that supposedly lends weight to their mission.
We clearly live in a media world now where 127 people saying they don’t like using agencies versus 123 saying they do, is enough to make loud proclamations that recruitment agencies are letting down HR. It would be funny if, say, four jobseekers were to change their mind and say they did have a good experience with an agency and were happy to use them. Suddenly we’d have a story saying “Majority of New Zealanders Love Using Recruitment Agencies to Find Work” and us recruiters and HR types live together in harmony for evermore.
Nah, didn’t think so.
So I wouldn’t worry too much about press releases like this. But I would pay attention to the impetus and mission behind it. Businesses like this are getting louder, and getting more effective, and whilst it’s a stretch to say they are “disrupting” recruitment, they are certainly changing the landscape. We’re part of that too, with our virtualRPO model. I’m all for it really, as companies will always need recruitment (and recruiters, in my opinion). But we can certainly do more to refine, improve and innovate in how we deliver those services to business that need our support.
I noticed a billboard recently advertising a similar attempt to disrupt the temp recruitment sector too – turns out the business called tempmarket.co.nz is also run by the same people behind Talent Propeller. Looks like an ideal platform to use if you want a guaranteed shortlist of White European candidates…
There will be more and more of this. Embrace it, compete against it, fight it or join it. But whatever you do, don’t sit there and keep doing the same old thing you’ve been doing since 10 years ago.
Pretty soon, jobseekers really will hate that.